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Unit information: Human Geography in 2015/16

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Unit name Human Geography
Unit code GEOG15020
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Fannin
Open unit status Not open



All other units in year 1 BSc/MSci Single Honours Geography

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Element 1 - Social Geography, Element 2 - Economic Geography, Element 3 - Population and Development Geography, Element 4 - Historical Geographies of Knowledge, Element 5 - Cultural Geography

The aims of this Unit are to introduce students to a number of key study areas within Human Geography

ELEMENT 1: Social Geography
This element introduces students to key concepts and theories of social relations in geography, focusing in particular on geographers’ claims that social relations are also spatial relations. The field of social geography is concerned, in part, with how experiences of injustice are mobilized to reshape social relations. Drawing on examples from historical and contemporary social movements, this element will emphasize the changing nature of social relations and how social differences are produced, maintained and contested.

ELEMENT 2: Economic Geography
This element introduces students to the field of economic geography, focusing in particular on globalisation. It makes the conceptual case for geographical approaches to the economy, examining a series of contemporary issues including regional development, the firm, agglomeration economies, and financial markets.

ELEMENT 3: Population and Development Geography
This element introduces students to key debates and research at the intersection of population studies and international development studies. It offers a global perspective on core themes including population growth, urbanization, poverty, migration, conflict and violence and sustainability. In exploring these themes we will address questions such as: Is the global population expanding beyond sustainable limits? Does Britain have an immigration problem? What is the difference between ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries? And can the welfare state survive without robots?

ELEMENT 4: Historical Geographies of Knowledge
This element introduces students to historical geography, focusing on early modern England. The course emphasises the depth and complexity of societal and geographical changes, in place of the schematic treatments of industrialisation and imperialism prominent in many contemporary geographical texts, whether economic or cultural. London provides the entry point for a series of themes, involving both integrating and differentiating processes, at scales from the international circulations of goods and ideas through Atlantic and Indian Ocean economies, to intra-urban shifts in infrastructure and culture within the metropolis.

ELEMENT 5: Cultural Geography
This element introduces students to the sub-discipline of cultural geography and the range of processes through which the question of culture shapes the geographies of everyday life. Starting with the claim that there is a plurality of cultures, it will outline key aspects of ‘new’ cultural geography to investigate what this actually means for the practice of doing cultural geography through a series of key conceptual debates on, for example, landscape, embodiment, memory, technology, subjectivity and identity.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this Unit students should be able to:

  • Grasp key concepts and themes pertinent to human geography
  • Mobilise a set of case-studies that relate to environmental, historical, economic, social and cultural geography.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written communication
  • Numeracy
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical skills
  • Critical reasoning

Teaching Information

Lectures and a combination of one of the following for each of the different elements: practicals, seminars and fieldwork

Assessment Information


Practical assignments (50%)

1 2-hour written exam (50%)

Percentage of the unit that is coursework: 50%

Percentage of overall unit mark involving group work: 10%

Reading and References

  • Paul Cloke, Phil Crang and Mark Goodwin, eds. (2013) Introducing Human Geographies, 3rd edition, Routledge, London. ISBN-13: 978-1444135350

Other RECOMMENDED reading:

  1. Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., Mary Thomas, Paul Cloke, Ruth Panelli (2011) A Companion to Social Geography Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford.
  2. Timothy Dyson (2010) Population and Development London: Zed Books
  3. E.A. Wrigley (2004) Poverty, Progress, and Population Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
  4. Trevor Barnes, Jamie Peck, Eric Sheppard and Adam Tickell, eds. (2003) Reading Economic Geography Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford
  5. Kay Anderson, Mona Domosh, Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift, eds. (2003) Handbook of Cultural Geography Sage: London.